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Child Maltreat. 2009 May;14(2):207-24. doi: 10.1177/1077559508326286. Epub 2008 Oct 29.

Child maltreatment among Asian Americans: characteristics and explanatory framework.

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Department of Applied Psychology, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University, 726 Broadway, Room 529, New York, NY 10003, USA.


This article systematically reviews the characteristics of child maltreatment among Asian Americans and provides a theoretical explanatory framework. The reported rate of child maltreatment among Asian Americans is disproportionately low. A high rate of physical abuse and low rates of neglect and sexual abuse are found among Asian American victims. Some protective factors (e.g., the emphasis on family harmony and reputation and the indulgence to infants and toddlers) may lead to low probability of child maltreatment among Asian Americans. Some others (e.g., parental authority and beliefs in physical punishment) may be risk factors of child maltreatment, especially physical abuse. Meanwhile, many other coexisting factors (e.g., children's obedience to parents and families' invisibility to authorities) may prohibit child maltreatment from being disclosed. Therefore, the overall low reported rate of child maltreatment among Asian Americans may be a combination of low incidence and underreporting. Implications for practice and research are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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